Saturday, November 05, 2005

DEIS: Traffic concerns; Pedestrian impacts


Draft EIS states:

An at-grade, controlled crossing of East 161st Street at Ruppert Plaza would be created.

The River Avenue and Ruppert Plaza intersections at East 161st Street would experience significant adverse impacts with the proposed project, but could be mitigated with the augmentation of pedestrian crosswalks.

Pedestrian access between Jerome Avenue and River Avenue would no longer be available on East 162nd Street. Informal pedestrian access between the two avenues across Macomb’s Dam Park would also be eliminated.

With the exception of the fans parking at the new Garage B and the existing parking facilities north of East 161st Street, all patrons from the new Parking Garages A and C and those parking south and west of the existing stadium, would be required to cross East 161st Street. Three crosswalks along East 161st Street at River Avenue, the new design element at Ruppert Plaza, and the widened crosswalks along Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach would operate at congested levels.

Pedestrian improvements include wider crosswalks, sidewalks, and additional green time at signals for pedestrians to access the new stadium, a new signalized midblock crossing of East 161st Street leading to the new stadium, and others.

To extend the pedestrian experience through Ruppert Plaza across East 161st Street onto the proposed stadium plaza, a new crossing would be provided. The maximum peak hour volume projected at this location is approximately 13,500 pedestrians, with a peak 15-minute surge of over 5,000 pedestrians.


As stated in the DEIS, the chanellization of pedestrians through Ruppert Plaza will create a near tidal-wave of pedestrians who will have to cross the busy 161 st Street at a controlled mid-block intersection. It is not a good idea to intermittently stop this flowing river of people at a controlled intersection to allow cars to go through. It will cause crowding and potential vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. It will only get worse after the game when drunk fans have to stagger back to their cars (hopefully under the supervision of friends who are designated drivers).

The new stadium structure will also prohibit pedestrian circulation through what used to be 162nd Street or informally through what used to be Macomb’s Dam park. This will create a circuitous walking route for many local residents, and will place an unfair burden on those with disabilities who now have to go out of their way to get to the store or to the subway.


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